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Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2007 Nov;28(11):1819-26.

Oridonin induces apoptosis via PI3K/Akt pathway in cervical carcinoma HeLa cell line.

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Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Yijishan Hospital,Wannan Medical College, Wuhu 241001, China.



To investigate the apoptosis-inducing effect of oridonin, a diterpenoid isolated from Rabdosia rubescens, in the human cervical carcinoma HeLa cell line.


A morphological analysis, nuclear condensation, and fragmentation of chromatin were monitored using Hoechst 33342 staining. Cell viability was assessed using the 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-(2)-yl)-2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Cell apoptosis and the apoptosis-related activation in the HeLa cell line were evaluated by flow cytometry and Western blotting.


Oridonin suppressed the proliferation of the HeLa cell line in a dose- and time-dependent fashion. Oridonin treatment downregulated the activation of protein kinase B (Akt), the expression of forkhead box class O (FOXO) transcription factor, and glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3). Oridonin also induced the release of cytochrome c accompanied by the activation of caspase-3 and poly-adenosine diphosphate- ribose polymerase cleavage. In addition, Z-D(OMe)-E(OMe)-V-D(OMe)- FMK (z-DEVD-fmk), an inhibitor of caspases, prevented caspase-3 activation and abrogated oridonin-induced cell death. Finally, oridonin treatment of the HeLa cell line downregulated the expression of the inhibitor of the apoptosis protein.


Our results showed that oridonin-induced apoptosis involved several molecular pathways. Oridonin may suppress constitutively activated targets of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (Akt, FOXO, and GSK3) in the HeLa cell line, inhibiting the proliferation and induction of caspase-dependent apoptosis.

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